The stuff of epic poetry. The building blocks of psycho-analysis. The root cause of thousands of therapist couch-hours. The butt of jokes, the brick of cliche, even the muse for slang (Yes, Stacey’s Mom, you got it going on. And thank you, Stifler’s Mom for giving us the term MILF).
As Mother’s Day once again approaches, I feel the need to come clean, to lay it straight. To blow your socks off, rock you with honesty, tell it like it really is. Are you ready? Here goes.
One day a year of flowers and breakfast in bed doesn’t even begin to cut it.
A nice meal out and homemade cards, even those with glitter and stickers? Doesn’t even begin to come close to leveling out the playing field. Even a bought and paid for massage by a muscular Norseman who goes by Thor doesn’t come close. In fact, the only thing I can think of which may begin to make up for all the pain, all the sleepless nights, the angst, the worry, the distress, and sacrifice is the donation of a non-vital internal organ. And even then it would be a close call. Harsh but true.
Sure, the paper mache heart made with chunky fingers and lots of love chips away slightly at the vivid and detailed memory of labor pains. The handprint poem, replete with messy, purple painted prints, softens the nightmarish flashbacks of those six month chunks of sleep deprivation. Sleepy hugs and droopy dandelions in vases and yawing exhortations of “Happy Mother’s Day!” gnaw through the ties that bind you to all the interrupted bathroom trips, the cold meals, the schlepping and chauffeuring, the truck noises and feigned enthusiasm for Lightning McQueen. But knick-knacks and paddy whacks and crafty projects aside, how do you go about showing appreciation for the very vessel that breathed life into you?
But, but, but you may splutter, raising respectful human beings, young men and women who go forth and responsibly populate society, who contribute meaningfully, surely that is reward enough. And it is. In the long run, in a galaxy far, far away. But in case you are stumped for a few ideas for the here and now, take a gander below. Spouses and partners take note, most of these require your active assistance….
State of Union
Every mom I know would sell her soul for a day free of explaining, negotiating, and refereeing everything from who pees first to whether or not the slice of cake Johnny has is infinitesimally bigger than the one gracing Janie’s plate. As Mom’s partner you have the power to Make It Happen. Bring peace and unity to her state of being. You may need to physically remove the children from her presence to make this one happen, but trust me, it would go a long way to showing your mother…I mean your spouse….how much you appreciate her.
Pride and prejudice
Try this: “Sure honey, let’s watch Pride and prejudice for the 11th time so you can sigh over Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy. The Game of Thrones season premiere can wait! I don’t really need to find out why the zombie apocalypse is marching on Winterfell. No, really, I mean it! Yes, you’re right, the one with Kiera Knightly is crap compared to the BBC version. C’mon kids, let’s go out!”
Another one to try: “Honey, I’ll take the kids out to brunch by myself so that you don’t have to worry about X stabbing Y with the butter knife or whether or not Z is going to eat the pasta because the cheese isn’t the right color or not getting to eat a hot meal because Thing 1 and Thing 2 will need to be taken to the toilet sixteen times. Here is a bag of chips and a bowl of dip for you to eat while you are watching Colin Firth.”
The Full Monty
Namely a clean house, a full fridge and an empty hamper. A house that stays clean for more than 10 minutes is a good way for kids to show mom they care. As is food shopping for her. And doing the seventeen loads of laundry that have piled up.
50 Shades of Time
Forget the book, the time to read a book is what a mom really needs. Preferably guilt free time in bed Yes, it’s been a week since you…err..snuggled last, but let her prop up her tired feet and get stuck into a good book without worrying about hurrying to turn off the light five minutes before you come to bed to make it look like she’s been asleep for an hour.
What a mom really wants is to know that she is loved, warts and all. Even though she may not fit into the jeans she wore before she gave birth to a baby or two, even though she sometimes sweats at night or has holes in her yoga pants or hasn’t worn a pair of heels in years. Even though she sees red when the toilet seat is dribbled in pee, or has stopped cooking on Wednesdays. Tell her the truth. That none of that really matters.
So this year, give mom the gift that keeps on giving. No, not guilt. Tell her you appreciate her. Tell her on an average Tuesday during an odd month in the middle of the afternoon. Tell her just before she falls asleep. When her nose is blocked up and dripping snot and yet she’s still peeling carrots for lunches. When she’s ten pounds above her fighting weight and spilling over her jeans and making a birthday cake that she’s sitting on her hands not to eat herself. When she’s driving you crazy because she’s getting older and she can’t remember that you told her something ten times already. When she calls just to chat in the middle of dinner preparation. Just because. Just because she’s your mom.
Happy Mother’s Day to every Mother. You deserve it.
This one is dedicated to my own mom, who taught me what to do, what not to do, and all the other dos and don’ts in between.